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November 6, 2014
MArco's Pool Hall and Pizza Bar: aims to bring pool into the 21st century.
Marco’s Pool Hall and Pizza Bar: aims to bring pool into the 21st century.

Earlier this week, the 5pm Dining blog was at the launch of the new Marco’s Pool Hall and Pizza Bar on Edinburgh’s Grove Street.

More veteran Edinburgh residents may recall the original Marco’s Leisure Centre which first opened its doors on Grove Street way back in the Seventies.

Over the decades, the centre was famous locally for its snooker and pool tables; its exercise classes (remember aerobics?) and its kids’ soft play areas. Legend has it that, back in the day, Bruce Springsteen even used the gym when he was in town for a gig.

From snooker clubs and supper rooms in the 1940s to today’s Corn Exchange concert venue, the Demarco family have long been involved in Edinburgh’s leisure and entertainment world.

Vintage memorabilia

Rare photographs and vintage memorabilia from the Marco’s archive line the walls at the new venture. Some of it is highly amusing for those of us who may have spent a large part of the Eighties wearing the then fashionable leg warmer and leotard combo.

Paul Demarco, Managing Director of Marcos Leisure, wants the new building to reflect the changing face of pool. Just as ping pong and bowling have been revamped in recent years, Paul reckons that pool is ripe to be repositioned.

New generation

Paul said: ‘It has been an honour and a labour of love to restore and reinvent Marco’s for a new generation. The space has been utterly transformed and is unrecognisable from its previous incarnation as Marco’s Leisure Centre. The Demarco family has always been ahead of the curve and this new venture should challenge people’s perceptions about what a pool hall can be.

‘This isn’t pool as we’ve come to know it, it’s stylish and cool. What we’re offering is different from anything else happening in Edinburgh just now so it’s an exciting time. Marco’s on Grove Street was always a big part of Edinburgh life so it’s great that we’ll be able to offer that to a new generation of people looking to try something a bit out of the ordinary.’

Recycled snooker tables feature in the Pizza Bar at Marco's.
Recycled snooker tables feature in the Pizza Bar at Marco’s.

LED lighting

To this end, the new pool hall looks rather different from the dim and dingy interiors of the traditional pool hall. Pillars of multi-coloured LEDs illuminate the eighteen American pool tables. It all looks very futuristic.

Obviously, you are reading the 5pm Dining blog rather than the Pool Players’ Gazette so some food news snippets would probably be of interest.

Stone-baked pizza

While the pool hall is in the basement, the bar is on the ground floor. It is a fun space with tables made from old snooker tables and decorated with snooker balls. Upstairs from the bar is a mezzanine area for events and private functions.

The bar serves cold beers and a selection of crispy, stone-baked pizza. A basic Margherita is £5.50 and then customers can freestyle their own toppings. Paul recommends the spicy sausage and jalapeño toppings.